SPECIAL WORKSHOP DAY

I received a request for a private workshop. Bart and Connie, who live in Massachusetts, wanted to make a few receipts they could then try at home, in their own fireplace and bake oven. The day’s receipts were for a Coffin, Escalloped Potatoes, Asparagus in Crust, Mushroom and Artichoke sauce and Orange Pudding. 
1 copyBart and Connie wanted to start from scratch and build the fire in the bake oven so they would know just how to do this at home. Allan helped show them while I put things on the table. Afterwards, Bart and Connie shoveled the coals out and cleaned the bottom of ash.
DSC_7669 The coffin was the most time-consuming receipt, as there are several parts to it. So we started on that first. The dough can be a bit tricky being that you use hot water with melted lard and butter in it. Bart did an excellent job of it and you would have thought he was a potter. Connie roasted marrow bones, the marrow would go into the little meatballs like little nuggets for the coffin.

2 copyThe meatball mixture was of veal, pork and lamb, known to all of us as a “Meatloaf” mix. It’s modern, yet faster and easier than chopping the meat fine by hand. Herbs and spices were added and the meatballs were stuffed with the marrow. Connie partially fried them in the spider.
4a copyThe pork loin was cut into cubes sprinkled with flour, salt and pepper and also partially fried.4b copyA separate dough was rolled out and decorated with a rolling pin that has designs on it and applied to the side of the coffin and asparagus crust. With the coffin ready, the inside was layered with the meatballs, browned pork, mushrooms, grapes, hard-boiled eggs, figs, herbs, spices and a bit of cold gravy
3 copyConnie placed the top on the coffin; sealed it with beaten egg; and poked a steam hole in the top. She cut out shapes with a cookie cutter and used them for decorations. When done with the coffin, she worked on the crust for the asparagus and then blind baked it in the bake oven.
3acopy The Coffin decorated and ready for the oven
5b copyThe oranges for the orange pudding needed to have the inside removed and the skins boiled to make them soft. In the 18th century they would have used Seville oranges, which are very tart and need to be boiled in several waters. For this modern application we used Florida orange and boiled them once.
6 copyWith the crust for the asparagus half-baked, Connie adds the asparagus and then made a cheese and cream custard to pour inside. Into the bake oven it went, in front of the coffin an had been baking for awhile.
5 copyBart made a pudding with currants, eggs, sugar, sack and heavy cream poured over crumbled Naple biscuits which I made two days beforehand. This went into the oranges; the top placed on and stuffed into small bags, tied with string, and boiled for 45 minutes. They were very hot when they came out and Bart gingerly removed them from the bags.

10 copyThe potatoes for the scallop shells were ready and mashed with butter and cream. They were then spooned into shells and sprinkled with herbs and bread crumbs. and put into a bake kettle. The last receipt was for a mushroom and artichoke sauce. The spider was deglazed of the meatball and pork bits, the mushrooms added to brown, then the artichokes. A walnut size of butter with flour incorporated in to it made a roux. Chicken broth, cream and two egg yolks were slowly mixed in to make a sauce.5a copyWe used several methods of hearth cooking during the day to make this meal. Things were fried in a skillet, baked in a bake kettle and a bake oven. We boiled a pudding over the fire.
With everything ready, we sat to a lovely winter dinner. We discussed how 18th century receipts could be made with modern ingredients for ease of cooking and how Bart and Connie can replicate this delicious meal in their own fireplace and bake oven.
8 copyHappy New Year!

Sandie

You don’t have to be a chef or even a particularly good cook to experience proper kitchen alchemy; the moment when ingredients combine to form something more delectable than the sum of their parts.
Erin Morgenstern

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About Sandie

Since I was a small child I have loved early fireplaces and the smell of smoke in an old house. However it was not until about Fifteen years ago that my journey into hearth cooking began. It all started at the Hurd House Museum in Woodbury Ct. I was the director of the Junior Docent program and among the programs each week we cooked. At about the same time a group of us started the Culinary Historians of Connecticut meeting once a month to discuss equipment used, receipt (18th century term for recipe), and anything between the late 1600 to late 1700 that had to do with hearth cooking. We were fortunate to try our hand at cooking at several Museums throughout Ct and many more private homes. We made cheese; we held a late 1600 dinner and shared our knowledge with others. Our group designrd our own tours such as the Kitchens of Old Wethersfield. In 2000 we were delighted to host the Historic Foodways group of ALFAM at the Hurd House during their conference at Mystic Seaport. We put together a great workshop of Puddings, Sausages, Brown Bread, Beverages you name it we offered it. I am now a member of the ALFAM foodways group. Then it was off to Colonial Williamsburg for the seminar The Art of 18th-Century Cooking: Farm to Hearth to Table. During the years I joined many workshops in Sturbridge Village plus their Dinner in a Country Village and breakfast at the Freeman Farm. So I was pretty much hooked on heart cooking and the 18th century way of life. I joined a wonderful group of ladies and we started the “Hive” a place to improve and grow your 18th century impression and offer research about material culture in 17070’s New England. We also travel with friends and have displays of clothing and teas at Museums in Massachusetts. Many events are held at the Hartwell Tavern at Minute Man National Park. They have been gracious enough to let us play there and entertain and share our knowledge with their visitors. Please visit our “Hive” site if the 1700 interest you. Then the move to New Hampshire and a job at Strawberry Banke in Portsmouth as the co-coordinator of the Junior Role Playing workshop and eventually cooking in front of the hearth at the Wheelwright house. Not only did I enjoy making my evening meals at the hearth to take home but also talking with the visitors. I am an entertainer after all, check out my program page. Most recently I am working at the Museum of Old York in Maine as an educator, hearth cook and organizer of the Junior Docent cooking program in the summer. See some photos in the archive file Because I do make food with the docents and serve food to the public at our Tavern Dinners I took the National Restaurant Association tests called ServSafe and now have my Certification as a Restaurant Manager. I look forward to the Museum of Old York opening again this March 2012 and getting back to the hearth and teaching, however for now I’m cooking at home and enjoying doing so.

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